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Is a Side Hustle Right For You?

By Becca Carnahan

Have you ever thought about starting a side hustle?

If so, you aren’t alone. A recent study found that one in three Americans has a side hustle, defined as a means of making money outside of your primary employment. That could include anything from freelancing, to building a small business, to a part-time job.

For some, the main driver behind starting a side hustle is financial. But did you know there are many other reasons a side hustle could be right for you?

See if you fall into any of these categories.

(1) You want to test out the entrepreneurial waters.

If you have an entrepreneurial itch and a good idea for a business, starting it out as a side hustle is the perfect testing grounds. In fact, you’ll be testing out two things.

1) Is the entrepreneurial life for you? How does it feel to start something from scratch and be your own boss? That lifestyle isn’t for everyone, which is completely okay.

2) Is your business idea a good one? Unless your business idea requires extensive upfront capital, you can test it out on a small scale to see if the market needs what you are offering.

(2) You're not a big risk taker.

Dipping your toe into starting a new business by doing it on the side can be a happy medium for those who are generally risk averse, but are interested in entrepreneurship.

Keep your safety net with a stable income while you’re giving your entrepreneurial idea a go to protect your bottom line and mental health.

(3) You need seed money to build your business.

While your 9-5 job pays your regular bills, it can also provide funding to get your side hustle to a point where it generates income. From there,  you can invest that income to get your business where you want it to be. There’s also the added benefit of building up expertise alongside the income.

You can also use one side hustle to help fund another. For example, if you’re an entrepreneur at heart and you have an idea for, say, an ed-tech company, but you don’t have the funding yet, side hustling as a tutor and utilizing your education experience can help build up your financial base while also allowing you to research the field.

(4) You need a new job.

If you are currently unemployed, a side hustle can serve two key purposes.

1) Starting your own business on the side will make you stand out in the crowd during your job search. You’ll be filling a gap on your resume and, if your side hustle is related to your core career interests, you’ll be showcasing to employers that you are dedicated to your field.

2) A side hustle can bring in income when you need it. A full-time job may be the ultimate goal, but bringing in money through your own business can be a good way to support your immediate needs.

(5) You want to change careers.

You may have been moving happily along in your career for some time, but you’ve reached a point where you are bored, restless, or burned out.

You could decide enough is enough and quit your job before finding something new, but that’s a little risky. Or you could start firing off applications to change careers into a new industry, but if you don’t have experience in that role or sector, you may hear a lot of radio silence.

A side hustle business can help you build the experience you need to get into that new full-time job though. If a company won't give you a shot just yet, make your own shot!

(6) You're re-entering the workforce.

Are you a stay at home parent looking to make a return to the workforce outside of the home? A side hustle could be the perfect re-entry point.

Use the skills you have built both before having children and after to create a flexible business that starts bringing in some income and helps you build your skills and network. Then you have some additional recent work to add onto your resume, and you’re meeting people who can help you make those moves in your career.

(7) You need some spice in your life.

If you like variety in your work, then having multiple jobs could feel exciting to you and not stressful. Your career doesn’t have to be just one thing if you are multi-passionate and thrive when you have multiple balls to juggle. Tossing one more ball in the air can make you more profitable and happier.

(8) You want more flexibility in your career and life.

If you are seeking flexible options for employment beyond the traditional 9-5, a side hustle business could be exactly what you’re looking for. While it may start out as a role you pursue on the side in addition to your 9-5 job, your side hustle (or side hustles) could transition into your full-time employment, just not in the traditional full-time hours.

Key Takeaways

Starting a side hustle can be a great move at many different inflection points in your career. Whether you need a side hustle to bring in more income, you’re craving change or flexibility, or you’re hoping to stand out in the job market, consider how a side hustle can play into your career strategy.

 

For ideas on side hustle that could be a fit for you and your career, check out this categorized list.

For more on careers, check out our other blogs.

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